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In case you missed it: the week in immigration news

Free Movement’s pick of the past week’s media reporting on immigration and asylum. The fallout from now-notorious Home Office deportation letters, sent in error to EU citizens over the summer, continued last week as the government agreed to compensate 106 recipients of instructions to leave the country (Daily Mirror). Home Office errors continue all the same. The Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, no less, helped to rescue the wedding day of an Irish/Japanese couple after the bride-to-be was denied a visa due to a “misunderstanding” (Irish News). Also in Northern Ireland, a Spanish citizen accused the department of “treating her family like criminals” during a lengthy dispute about permanent…

16th October 2017 By Conor James McKinney

Nick Blake QC retires from High Court

The Honourable Sir Nicholas John Gorrod Blake retired from the High Court (Queen’s Bench) with effect from 3 October 2017. Sir Nicholas Blake (68) was called to the Bar (M) in 1974, took Silk in 1994 and was elected a Bencher in 2002. He was appointed an Assistant Recorder in 1999, a Recorder in 2000 and a Deputy High Court Judge in 2002. He was appointed a Judge of the High Court (Queen’s Bench) in 2007 and was the President of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) from 2010 to 2013. Known also as a leading member of the immigration team at 2 Garden Court Chambers before leaving to…

10th October 2017 By Colin Yeo

Mr Justice Peter Lane appointed new President of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the Upper Tribunal

The Right Honourable Sir Ernest Ryder, The Senior President of Tribunals has appointed Sir Peter Lane to be the Chamber President for the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber with effect from 2 October 2017. This is the first “internal” appointment of an immigration tribunal judge to the top immigration judge role in my time in practice. Previous appointments since at least 1999 have always been from outside the existing immigration judiciary, including Sirs Andrew Collins, Duncan Ouseley, Henry Hodge, Nicholas Blake, and the outgoing president, Bernard McCloskey. President McCloskey will be much missed and I will be putting together a (positive!) review of his tenure. Any thoughts or (polite!)…

2nd October 2017 By Colin Yeo

Explainer: Can the Home Secretary really be guilty of contempt of court for breach of a court order?

The Home Office has been in the news for what one judge described as a “prima facie case of contempt of court.” Officials are reported to have breached multiple orders for the return of asylum seeker Samim Bigzad from Afghanistan to the United Kingdom. Ultimately, though, in legal terms it is Home Secretary Amber Rudd who is responsible for those actions. It is unlikely she personally sanctioned breach of the order. Can she really be in contempt of court for the actions of one of her officials? At the time of writing there has been no finding of contempt of court in the case of Samim Bigzad. However, clear and deliberate…

18th September 2017 By Colin Yeo

Euro-style stubble banned at work for Home Office immigration officers 

With the approach of Brexit, managers at the Home Office are re-asserting traditional English facial grooming standards, it seems: Britain’s immigration officers have been told they are not allowed to sport stubble at work. Dress code guidance published by the Home Office on Tuesday advised staff that an “unshaven or stubble appearance” is not permitted  – although full beards and moustaches are allowed. Should a worker wish to grow facial hair, they must do so “at a time that minimises the period when you present an unprofessional image,” according to the advice… It’s a good job these guys are focussing on the important stuff, what with a new immigration system to design and a…

15th September 2017 By Colin Yeo

Home Office sets up team to deal with high profile immigration cases

Brian White, abandoned as a baby, lived in a Zimbabwean orphanage until the age of six. He was fostered, and later adopted, by the White family in Wolverhampton. He came to the UK to join the family when he was 15, at which point he should have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. However, the Home Office instead, wrongly, granted him Limited Leave to Remain. This mistake was only brought to light after he was refused naturalisation: he was awarded a place at Oxford University but this refusal now threatened to put his future in doubt. Cue a petition which received over 100,000 signatures. The result? The Home Office have just approved…

11th September 2017 By Paul Erdunast

Job Ad: Westkin Associates

SENIOR IMMIGRATION LAWYER/CASEWORKER Organisation: WESTKIN Associates website: www.westkinassociates.com Location: Mayfair, central london deadline: ONGOING SALARY: Dependent on experience and ability (circa 80,000 plus plus inclusive of and subject to target based bonuses) HOURS: 40 hours a week Requirements & General Description of the role. Applicants must hold level 1 OISC / LSC accreditation or better and/or be actively working towards the same. An Immigration Caseworker occupies a vital place within our growing business, with support from other departments, we ensure that their time is spent servicing client needs and focusing on the satisfaction of their clients. Duties: Conducting client consultations and advising on immigration law Close management of client and…

4th September 2017 By Free Movement

Trainee solicitor convicted of providing illegal immigration advice as Prime Legal Solicitors

A trainee solicitor has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years after being convicted of providing illegal immigration advice and services: Mr Babar Khan, of Mylis Close, Sydenham, London was convicted on 24 August 2017 at Southwark Crown Court of providing unregulated immigration advice and services.  On 25 August 2017, Mr Khan was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years. He was ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid work and was disqualified from holding any company directorship for eight years. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £500. Mr Khan was employed as a trainee solicitor. However, at the time of these…

30th August 2017 By Colin Yeo

Latest immigration statistics published: EU exodus confirmed

The latest quarterly immigration statistics have been published. The headline is that net migration for the year ending March 2017 has reduced by almost a quarter, to 246,000 down from 327,000 in the year ending March 2016. The overall figure represents the lowest net migration figure since the year ending March 2014. This decrease is, I suppose, great news for arbitrary target setters and tabloid newspaper editors. You can see the summaries and breakdowns by theme here and the ONS analysis here. A deeper look at the statistics reveals that while most of the decrease is due to lower levels of immigration, much of it is fuelled by emigration, mostly…

25th August 2017 By Paul Erdunast

Tribunal Judge Peter Lane appointed Justice of the High Court

The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Tribunal Judge Peter Richard Lane to be a Justice of the High Court with effect from 2 October 2017 consequential to the retirement of Sir Michael Burton. The Lord Chief Justice will assign Tribunal Judge Peter Richard Lane to the Queen’s Bench Division. Notes to editors Tribunal Judge Peter Richard Lane, aged 64, will be known as The Honourable Mr Justice Lane. He was admitted as a Solicitor in 1985. He was appointed as a fee-paid Immigration Adjudicator in 1996, as a salaried Immigration Adjudicator in 2001, as a Vice President of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal in 2003 (becoming a…

21st August 2017 By Colin Yeo

MAC to examine the role EU nationals play in the UK economy and society

Yesterday, 27 July 2017, the Home Secretary commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee to examine the role EU nationals play in the UK economy and society. Amber Rudd has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to examine the British labour market, the overall role of migration in the wider economy and how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy. The commission represents an extremely important piece of work, with free movement ending when we exit the EU. Plans for the UK’s future immigration system are being developed which will enable the government to control the flow of migration from Europe. The Home Office will ask the MAC to focus…

28th July 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

New Home Office Policy Guidance for British Nationality

The Home Office today published a new collection of guidance documents used by the UK Visas and Immigration service when deciding applications for British nationality. These seem to have replaced the Nationality Instructions with, it seems, no guidance on what has been carried over, changed or dropped from the Nationality Instructions: Section 1: Requirements and considerations common to all types of British nationality This section contains information on common aspects of nationality policy and processes that apply to the applications for all types of British nationality. Adoption: nationality policy guidance Assessing ordinary residence: nationality policy guidance Domicile: nationality policy guidance British nationals: nationality policy guidance Deprivation and nullity of British citizenship:…

27th July 2017 By Chris Desira

Expert witness wins apology and payment from Legal Aid Agency | Law Society Gazette

The Legal Aid Agency has been told to directly apologise and pay £10,000 to an expert witness in immigration cases for causing him distress, inconvenience and financial loss by excessively auditing his bills. In a report seen by the Gazette, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman says it has decided to ‘partly uphold’ Dr Alan George’s complaint. Middle East expert George had alleged that the agency unfairly denigrated his character, unfairly reduced, capped and refused his fees; and unfairly subjected his work and fees to excessive assessment, review and audit from spring 2011 until autumn 2013. The ombudsman says: ‘We found that LAA did not act transparently when investigating their concerns…

18th July 2017 By Colin Yeo

New guidance for the public and for professionals on immigration and asylum related legal issues – Bar Standards Board

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today published two new guidance documents on immigration and asylum issues. The guidance was developed in collaboration with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), and was developed following extensive consultation with consumer organisations and consumers themselves. Its publication follows the immigration roundtable that the BSB held in April. The first guidance document is aimed directly at people seeking legal help. The second is for professionals working with people with immigration and asylum issues, to help them better assist their clients to navigate the legal system. The guidance for the public explains: The different types of people…

5th July 2017 By Colin Yeo

Secretary of State criticised by Court of Appeal for “confused” and “messy” legal analysis in deportation case

The Home Office has been criticised by the Court of Appeal for its “confused” and “messy” legal analysis in the matter of Secretary of State for the Home Department v Mosira [2017] EWCA Civ 407. The Secretary of State sought to apply refugee cessation provisions to a non-refugee deportee; rigidly sticking to its increasingly untenable position throughout the proceedings. The individual – a Zimbabwean national – had never in fact been granted refugee status but was bestowed it on a technicality for the purposes of family re-unification. By the time the Secretary of State had realised her errors, it was too late as far as the Court of Appeal was…

26th June 2017 By Rebecca Carr

What will happen to immigration policy and law following the 2017 General Election?

It is the Queen’s Speech today. This sets out the legislative agenda for the coming Parliament in 2017 and 2018. But no party managed to win an overall majority in the General Election. We have what the political pundits and historians call a Hung Parliament in which there is a party which has more MPs than any other, but not enough MPs to outvote all of the other parties if they all voted together. This is going to make it very difficult for the new Government to pass primary legislation, by which I mean new Acts of Parliament. But any Government needs to look like it is doing something and…

21st June 2017 By Colin Yeo

What does the Democratic Unionist Party think about immigration?

Picking through varous manifestos and public statements of the Democratic Unionist Party and its leading members reveals a few clues about the stance of the party on immigration issues. This may prove critical in the lifetime of the coming Government — whether that be days, weeks or months — because it is only with the support of the DUP that any new immigration legislation can be passed and the support of the DUP may be crucial if challenges are brought to immigration rules and regulations laid before Parliament. Before going further, though, bear in mind that immigration law is not a devolved issue so it is not something that parties…

13th June 2017 By Colin Yeo

Recruitment ends tomorrow for 65 new salaried judges of the First-tier Tribunal

An exercise to identify candidates to recommend for the post of salaried judge of the First-tier Tribunal opens today. There are 45 immediate vacancies and 20 that are expected to arise in the near future. Unlike previous exercises for the First-tier Tribunal, which identified candidates for a specific chamber, this exercise will identify candidates who can be deployed to any of the First-tier Tribunal Chambers. This is an excellent opportunity for solicitors, barristers and chartered legal executives from all areas of the professions, as candidates do not need to have previous judicial experience to apply. Most initial assignments are expected to be to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber and the…

23rd May 2017 By Colin Yeo

Immigration law and policy after the election: unfortunately, the Conservative manifesto tells us what is coming

Some people are posting up comparisons of different immigration policies of different parties. I cannot see the point. The result of the next General Election is a foregone conclusion and has been since Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected leader of the Labour Party. Surprisingly, some on the left even now do not understand this, but the opinion polls are very, very clear. Labour has edged up a little in the latest polls but the gap remains oceanic in scale. And opinion polls historically overestimate Labour support, not underestimate it. So, if we want to know what is going to happen in immigration law and policy after the election, all we have…

18th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

New Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 1078

Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 1078 was laid yesterday, 16 March 2017. It weighs in at 269 pages. Despite that, there was no space for any implementation of the MM judgment. The main headline changes are: Period of overstay before 12 month re-entry ban imposed reduced from 90 to 30 days Only one application for leave can be made at a time with any subsequent application being treated as a variation of the first Second phase of Tier 2 changes implemented, including increasing the salary threshold for experienced workers to £30,000 for the majority of new applicants and closure of the Short Term Staff sub-category Tier 2 migrants coming to…

17th March 2017 By Colin Yeo

Very interesting analysis of immigration stories in the “Whitetops”

Very interesting if depressing read: Last September, SubScribe looked at the prevalence and tone of anti-immigration stories produced by Fleet Street, accompanied by a bar chart of front pages.  At the time there were 195. By the end of the year, there were 277, with more than half coming from two newspapers – the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. That original study dealt only with stories relating to immigration and a rash promise was made to update with further analysis. SubScribe has now looked at all of last year’s coverage of immigration, race relations and the treatment of foreigners (with some exceptions, detailed on the right) by those two papers. It was not a…

2nd March 2017 By Colin Yeo

November 2016 immigration update podcast

Welcome to the November 2016 edition of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This episode I start with the some updates about the immigration tribunal and some tribunal case law, move on to cover some important legislative and procedural changes – a section of the Immigration Act 2016 coming into force, new EEA regulations and new Immigration Rules — and then cover an interesting case where the accused persecutor contests the facts of an asylum claim and end with the long awaited Supreme Court judgments on the deportation rules. The material is all drawn from the November 2016 blog posts on Free Movement. If you would like to claim CPD points for…

1st March 2017 By Colin Yeo

Latest quarterly immigration statistics: some highlights

Just a few bits and bobs from the details of the latest quarterly statistics: Outstanding EU law residence document applications stands at 95,146 (source). That is a LOT. It is hard to see how the Home Office can meet the 6 months deadline for deciding these applications. Outstanding citizenship applications stand at 24,297 (source). Permanent residence applications increased over fivefold between Q4 2015 and Q4 2016, from 7,637 to 44,103 (source). British citizenship applications by EEA nationals actually fell between 2015 and 2016, from 17,158 to 14,901. This was presumably due to the additional hurdles erected in November 2015 (source) The number of asylum applications decreased by 7% to 30,603 (source). The initial…

23rd February 2017 By Colin Yeo

The astonishing breadth of Trump’s Muslim ban is truly breathtaking

Take Trump seriously but not literally, said Peter Thiel, Paypal founder, Gawker litigation financier and prominent Trump supporter. Well, it turns out that Trump meant what he said. Literally. Muslims will be banned, literally. The wall will be built, literally. Mexico will pay for it, literally. President Trump's press sec just announced on Air Force One that the Mexican wall will be funded by a 20% import tax from Mexico… — Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) January 26, 2017 If you doubt the discriminatory intent and think this is about national security or public safety, it isn’t. Former New York City Mayor and Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani has talked in public about…

29th January 2017 By Colin Yeo

Total of 31 illegal immigrants removed from UK as a result of Right to Rent

The same report goes on to reveal that the Home Office is no longer even attempting to monitor the outcomes of the “papers, please” Right to Rent scheme. This is despite uncharacteristically strong criticism of this failure from David Bolt, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, in his review of the Home Office’s “hostile environment”. Source: Total of 31 illegal immigrants removed from UK as a result of Right to Rent – Property Industry Eye

12th January 2017 By Colin Yeo

Review of OISC published by Home Office

The latest triennial review of the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) has been published by the Home Office. The organisation will not be abolished and will continue as a non departmental public body at arms length from Government. There is also a very brief Ministerial statement. The main finding seems to be that the OISC needs to both cut costs and increase its income from fees paid by advisers, moving towards zero cost to the taxpayer by 2020. The provision by the OISC of free CPD training is criticised (this was in fact abolished last year) as is the free provision of other services such as competence assessments. The report…

12th January 2017 By Colin Yeo

Following Early Christmas referendum PM insists “Christmas means Christmas!”

Following the narrow “yes” vote in the Early Christmas Referendum, Theresa May announced today that the United Kingdom will unilaterally change the date of Christmas in 2017. The Prime Minister stated in a speech at  Santa’s Grotto inNicholsons, Maidenhead that “Christmas means Christmas” and that despite a close result she will trigger the 2017 Christmas countdown early by opening the first door of her Advent Calendar by the end of March. This will leave Theresa May and the British Government with 25 days in which to negotiate future present arrangements for British children. Mrs May told Christmas shoppers The people voted for an Early Christmas, and as prime minister I will make sure that we get…

24th December 2016 By Colin Yeo

Tribunal makes order requiring dental age assessment of young asylum seeker

In a new case on dental age assessments, the tribunal has ordered that a young asylum seeker to undergo a dental x-ray and age assessment. If he refuses, his court case will be struck out. The case also gives general guidance on the correct approach to be followed in similar cases. The new case is ZM and SK, R (on the application of) v The London Borough of Croydon (Dental age assessment) [2016] UKUT 559 (IAC). It follows on from the Court of Appeal judgment in London Borough of Croydon v Y [2016] EWCA Civ 398, covered earlier on Free Movement: Court of Appeal says children can be required to be x-rayed to challenge…

20th December 2016 By Colin Yeo

Latest immigration statistics published

The latest quarterly immigration statistics show that immigration to the UK for the year ended June 2016 was 650,000, the highest level ever recorded. Net migration stood at 335,000, just below the previous high of 2015. An estimated 49,000 more British citizens left the UK than returned from abroad. You can see the summaries and breakdowns by theme here and the ONS analysis here. This useful chart from the ONS shows the overall trends, where we can see increasing work related migration over time, a sharp fall in studuents and everything else holding broadly steady: It would be fair to say that international migration is not falling and is certainly nowhere…

2nd December 2016 By Colin Yeo

Immigration barrister Tariq Rehman of Kings Court Chambers disbarred

The Bar Standards Board has taken the decision to disbar Tariq Rehman of Kings Court Chambers in Birmingham. You can Google them if you want but I am not linking to them. Mr Rehman is understood to have been involved with other immigration firms in the past and has also recently been trading as KC Chambers. The decision to disbar Mr Rehman means he will no longer be allowed to practice as a barrister. This latest decision comes following a string of decisions by regulators concerning Mr Rehman. In 2014 the Legal Ombudsman took the unprecedented step of “naming and shaming” Mr Rehman in order to protect the public. At that time…

28th November 2016 By Colin Yeo

New Practice Statement on what tribunal “caseworkers” can do instead of judges

There is a new Practice Statement on what tribunal caseworkers (i.e. employed lawyers) can do instead of judges in the First-tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber. Some of the functions are definitely ones I would consider to be judicial rather than administrative. I am not sure what has changed since last time but the list is quite a long one: Case management powers under Rule 4(3)(a), 4(3)(c), 4(3)(d), 4(3)(f), 4(3)(h), 4(3)(i), and 4(3)(k); Striking out of an appeal for non payment of fee and reinstatement under Rule 7; Treating an appeal as abandoned or finally determined under Rule 16; Withdrawal functions under Rule 17 (with the exception of Rule 17(2));…

23rd November 2016 By Colin Yeo

Free Movement major redesign coming soon: sneak preview

There is a major redesign coming soon to Free Movement. You can take a sneak peak at the new design here. It is not finished yet but we are getting close. There are also changes coming to pricing, membership structure and the way the website works to try and improve access to relevant content. The redesign has been brewing for a long time and is based on three objectives: Making life easier for members based on the reader survey earlier this year Meeting the needs of non members seeking help with immigration problems Putting the website onto a fully sustainable footing First of all, some numbers. Free Movement readership now runs at…

23rd November 2016 By Colin Yeo

Garden Court Chambers only top ranked London set for immigration law

The Chambers and Partners listings for 2017 were released last week and Garden Court Chambers has retained its position as the only top ranked London set of chambers for immigration law. The write up is very flattering: The foremost set leading the way at the London Immigration Bar, Garden Court Chambers houses an unsurpassable team of advocates who handle the full gamut of immigration matters. Its practitioners, from top-quality juniors to renowned QCs, appear in the highest courts acting on behalf of vulnerable clients and high net worth private individuals alike. Many of them have recently been leading the way on policy and casework to relieve the refugee crisis in Calais and across Europe….

8th November 2016 By Colin Yeo

Government loses Article 50 court case. What might it mean for Brexit?

The Government has today lost a major case in the High Court on the issue of whether a Parliamentary vote is required before the Government issues notice under Article 50 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to the EU that the UK is leaving. If the High Court’s decision stands, it means that the Government cannot begin the formal legal process of leaving the EU without there first being a vote in Parliament. The full High Court judgment is available here. The decision turns on upholding the constitutionally sacrosanct principle of Parliamentary sovereignty: This subordination of the Crown (i.e. the executive government) to law is the foundation…

3rd November 2016 By Colin Yeo

JCWI crowdfunding for challenge to the five-fold increase to immigration tribunal fees

The Government is raising immigration and asylum tribunal fees by an unprecedented amount, in the face of almost universal opposition. Help us ensure that not only the rich are able to challenge incorrect Government decisions, by contributing to this urgent legal action. You can donate here: Challenge to the five-fold increase to Immigration Tribunal fees

18th October 2016 By Colin Yeo

Liberalism is failing. It does not have to.

On 16 June 2016, during a referendum campaign dominated by the issue of whether there are too many foreigners in the UK, Member of Parliament Jo Cox was shot and stabbed multiple times outside a surgery in her constituency. She later died from her injuries, leaving two young sons and a husband. A man arrested and charged with her murder later cried “death to traitors” in court. On Thursday 23rd June 2016, the referendum in question was held. On the face of it, the question was whether the UK should leave the European Union. The British people voted to leave by a slender majority of 52:48. The principle motivation for the…

5th October 2016 By Colin Yeo

New York Declaration: Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants

The New York Declaration Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants starts well: Since earliest times, humanity has been on the move. Some people move in search of new economic opportunities and horizons. Others move to escape armed conflict, poverty, food insecurity, persecution, terrorism, or human rights violations and abuses. Still others do so in response to the adverse effects of climate change, natural disasters (some of which may be linked to climate change), or other environmental factors. Many move, indeed, for a combination of these reasons. It tails off a bit after that but it is very important reading if you want to keep up to date on the…

30th September 2016 By Colin Yeo

Upper Tribunal Judge Goldstein retires today

Upper Tribunal Judge Goldstein (72) was admitted as a Solicitor in 1987. He was appointed a part-time Immigration Adjudicator in 1996, full-time Immigration Adjudicator in 1999 and Legal Member of the Immigration Appeals Tribunal in 2000. He was appointed Vice President of the Immigration Appeals Chamber in 2003 (now know as Upper Tribunal Judge of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and Tribunal Member of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in 2005. Source: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | Upper Tribunal Judge Retirement: Goldstein

22nd September 2016 By Colin Yeo

Section 3C does not apply to EU law residence applications

The question before us is whether a person who at one stage was the spouse of an EEA citizen with a right of abode in the United Kingdom but no longer has that status and right is to be treated as having leave either under the Immigration Act 1971 or otherwise after his application for permanent residence as the former spouse of an EEA citizen has been rejected. The answer is a firm “no”. Under the Immigration Act 1971 sections 3C and 4, someone applying for variation of leave under that Act — that is under UK immigration law, rather than the 2006 Immigration (EEA) Regulations — has their leave extended…

5th August 2016 By Paul Erdunast

Inspection reports published on ‘lorry drops’, country information and intelligence functions at the Home Office

The latest from the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt: The report found that the Home Office had maintained the quality of its initial response despite the significant increase in ‘lorry drops’. The report also found that: there was a risk that minors placed in the care of social services would run away the Home Office was not as strong when identifying potential victims of trafficking the number of initial decisions on asylum claims fell well short of the increased number of claims made. The Home Office also published its responses accepting the majority of recommendations, as usual. Sounds like an asylum backlog may be building. Given…

22nd July 2016 By Colin Yeo
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